Lightroom for Beginners: How to Edit Photos using Radial Filter

Often the scenes/subjects come out less bright and colorful than we remember seeing and capturing them with our DSLR camera. This is where Lightroom comes to our rescue.

With Lightroom, you can do edits/adjustments to enhance the overall photograph as well as certain parts of a photograph (selective editing) to match the original scene that you shot or make edits to the photograph as per your creative vision.

Since RAW format captures all image data/details recorded by the camera sensor without processing it, (the file size is heavy compared to JPEG) it allows you to bring back lost details in the photograph while editing/processing it in Lightroom.

JPEG is a compressed version of RAW; due to compression, some of the image data may be lost. For instance, White Balance is applied by the camera for a JPEG image and hence it gives you fewer options to modify it while post-processing in Lightroom whereas with a RAW file, you have complete control over White Balance with more options for editing in Lightroom.

In the previous blog, we explained how to edit the overall photo in Lightroom using Basic Panel, Color Panel and Effects Panel in the Develop Module.

Now, let’s take your editing skills to the next level by exploring the Radial Filter in the Develop Module which allows you to do selective editing.

Radial Filter helps in improving portraits of people and animals.

Here’s a Photo of a Resting Camel

1) Radial Filter (editing certain part of a photo)

lightroom editing
Radial Filter in Lightroom

Click on the Radial Filter icon

(we’ve marked it in blue in the image for your reference).

Now, let’s draw a large Radial Filter (create a mask) over the Camel’s face and body to do edits that improve/accentuate the face and body of the Camel.

In the panel, at the bottom, below Feather – Select ‘Invert Mask’ which will allow you to do edits inside the Radial Filter (face and body of the Camel).  

Note: If you want to undo the edits you made, click on the Reset button (at the bottom). 

Increase Exposure to 0.16

To brighten the area, to see the Camel much more clearly.

Increase Contrast to 7

lightroom editing
Increase Contrast to 7

Increasing image contrast makes the dark tones richer and the lighter areas brighter. (Low contrast images look flat).

We have slightly increased the Contrast as we will do edits with Whites Slider and Blacks Slider later in the Basic Panel.

Move the Highlights Slider to -20

To darken the bright tones and bring back details in the bright areas of the photo.

Move the Shadows Slider to 53

lightroom editing
Shadows to 53

To reveal details hidden in the darker areas without making the photo look overexposed or washed out.

Increase Clarity to 9

To accentuate details and add visual snap to the image.

Increase Saturation to 2

lightroom editing
Increase Saturation to 2

To increase the color richness in the image.

Increase Sharpness to 50

lightroom editing
Increase Sharpness to 50

By increasing sharpness, we can transform a soft image into a sharp image and make it look aesthetically more pleasing.

Now, click ‘Close’ at the bottom of the panel (the button on the right side of the Reset button) before we move on to the Basic Panel for further edits.

2) Basic Panel (editing the overall photo)

Now, we’ll use Whites slider and Blacks slider to add contrast by moving them in opposite directions and make the image look richer. (we’ll increase the Whites and decrease the Blacks).

Increase Whites to 7

Decrease Blacks to -19

lightroom editing
Decrease Blacks to -19

You can choose the Compare view to see the Before and After photos side by side.

Before and After editing in Lightroom
Before and After editing in Lightroom

We have explained basic adjustments/edits; you can further explore Lightroom and use its various tool to enhance your photos as per your creative vision.

Export the photograph (using Library Module in Lightroom)

You don’t save photos in Lightroom, instead – you export your edited photos.

To export the edited photo, go to the Library Module – choose the Grid View and select the photo. Click File – Export. 

how to export photos in Lightroom
how to export photos in Lightroom

When exporting the edited photo, you can choose a filename, color space, pixel dimensions, resolution etc. for the photo as per your requirement.

Click on the below Image to see the Comic in which the Camera explains Jo how to use Radial Filter to edit photos in Lightroom with the help of practical examples

Lightroom for Beginners How to Edit Photos using Radial Filter

When you do photography: Remember the 5E’s – Explore, Experiment, Experience, Enjoy & Express to develop your own style as a photographer.

Do Share The Learning – Like It, Post It, Pin It, Tweet It!

If you have any tips on how to use Radial Filter in Lightroom, please feel free to share them in the comment box below.

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